All entries for July 2007

July 28, 2007

Have you ever heard of a little thing called the "Industrial Revolution"?

I hate gas and cannot see the point of it. Why would anyone (architect, builder, or home-owner) choose gas over electricity? Electricity doesn't make a habit of escaping from the cables, you don't need Carbon Mon-electricity detectors, you don't need to panic if the Pilot Electric Light goes out, it can't blow your house up; it's just better.

We've been generating electricity to power stuff since 1881; that's fast approaching 130 years ago! Why, then, are houses still built using gas (well, I assume they're still built; they still exist, at least)? Why is British Gas still in business (presumably because they also started offering electricity)?

So here's a suggestion: why not drag your home kicking and screaming into the 19th Century by dispensing with your gas supply and switching to electricity...

July 24, 2007

TROTT's 101 Ways to Pass the Time: #93 Wikipedia Whispers

Similar to Chinese Whispers, but using Wikipedia. To play, one chooses a page on Wikipedia (any page will do - even a random one - but choosing a "larger" topic will likely increase the number of links), then you just follow links and see how quickly you can reach a page the seems totally unrelated to the original article. For example:

  1. I started with San Fransisco.
  2. I noticed that it was named for St. Francis of Assisi.
  3. He was a friar.
  4. A friar is a member of one of the mendicant orders.
  5. These religious orders depended on begging for their livelihood.
  6. In India it is considered dharma to give to beggers.
  7. Dharma is quite similar to Taoism.

So there we are, San Fransisco to Taoism in 6 clicks.

I must admit, however, that xkcd thought of it first...

July 17, 2007

European Religions

(This entry was supposed to be called "European Religions, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying But Start Being Confused When I Found That Our God Is Apparently Telling Them To Kill Us", but it complained that the title was longer than 100 characters...)

I've always known that Christianity sprouted off from Judaism, but I only recently discovered that Islam did the same (I think about 400-ish years later). Here's a handy diagram:

Judaism (Black), Christianity (Blue), and Islam (Green)

A timeline with black for Judaism, blue for Christianity, and green for Islam.

There's no explicit start date for the timeline, but one can assume that it ends at "now". Jesus turned up at point A, which is about the year 0 in the Christian calendar, and started preaching. His followers (technically Jews) believed him to be the son of God, but the rest of the Jews didn't accept him as the Messiah but did accept him as a prophet (like Moses and the rest of them). So:

  • Jesus is the Son of God in Christianity.
  • Jesus is just a prophet in Judaism.
  • It's the same "God" in both.

Then at point B (about year 0 in the Muslim calendar) Mohammed comes along and starts preaching. However most of the Jews want nothing to do with him. Obviously he won over some Jews to his cause but, unlike with Jesus, Judaism wants nothing to do with Mohammed - it doesn't accept him as a "real" prophet. So:

  • Jesus is the Son of God in Christianity.
  • Jesus is just a prophet in Judaism and Islam.
  • Mohammed is The Prophet in Islam.
  • Mohammed is a "false prophet" in Judaism.
  • Mohammed doesn't have any connection to Christianity because it had already split before he arrived.
  • It's still the same "God" in all three cases, it's just we can't agree on what he wants from us...

So Jews are Jews, Christians are Jews that accept the Old Testament but tweak it to reflect the preachings of The Messiah, and Muslims are Jews that said, "Ah, yes. We weren't quite right with the Old Testament. Here's how it should have been..."

It's also important to note that, I believe, all three religions have it as fundamental to "love thy neighbour" or words to that effect; I'm 99% sure that none of them have "killing the infidel"*. In fact, one of the fundamental precepts of the Islamic faith is giving to charity; how much do you give to charity Mr I'm A Racist Christian Who Thinks The Muslim Scum Should Sod Off Back Home, eh? Think about that the next time you blame all Muslims for all Terrorism. 


* A note to the people who shout religion at you on the street: I'm also 99% sure that Christianity has nothing about "convert the infidel"...

July 07, 2007

TROTT's 101 Ways to Pass the Time: #65 Scaring Old Folks

Dress up as Death - with full cowl and scythe garb - and creep around outside a retirement home, occasionally turning to look through a window to give the residents a knowing nod.

It would probably work best if the staff are in on the joke; that way they can ignore you...

July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

Yes, today's the day we celebrate America's removal from our (then) Empire. Britons everywhere are revelling in Socially Acceptable Racism (it's the Americans and the French; anything else is out of bounds) and swapping stories of war-related retardation and Massive Weapons of Destruction.

On a slightly more sensible note, it's somewhat worrying how many Americans ask Brits online if we celebrate today and Thanksgiving. Either they're stupid, or they're celebrating a holiday and they don't know why...

Also I saw a stand-up recently who commented on the irony of Britons complaining about Americans acting like they own the world. The trouble with that is that Britain did own the world.

TROTT's 101 Ways to Pass the Time: #37 Toilet Seats

Sneak into a public female toilet, when you know no one is inside, and put all the seats up.

July 02, 2007

I don't know why it even needs a driver…

The Toyota Prius can park itself!

I've just found this demonstration on YouTube. The dialogue is in Japanese, but basically you:

  1. Put the car in reverse
  2. Turn the IPA on
  3. Choose between parallel and parking space
  4. Use the arrows to position the box (which is where the car will end up)
  5. Press go
  6. Keep an eye out for pedestrians etc. getting in the way
  7. Take your hands off the steering wheel but keep the speed under control with the break

July 01, 2007

Looks like the Government finally did something right…

Writing about web page

I couldn't be happier that there's a ban on smoking; I don't know about you, but I'm guessing that if you're not in favour of it then you're probably a smoker and therefore a damned fool, and as an idiot you opinion is automatically worthless...

I've never been able to understand the attraction of smoking; it doesn't achieve anything - alcohol generally makes you merry and kills you, drugs make you see pretty colours and kill you, smoking just kills you...

For the record, smoking does not give you a high; smoking gives you a low because of withdrawal and then the actual smoking gives you a normal. And it kills you. It also kills everyone around you. Slowly. At least the other vices only kill other people by your actions while under the influence (drink-driving, for example); it's the smoking itself that kills the others. (And as we all know, killing Others - while always morally questionable - can only be excused if you're LOST...)

As for the question of reduced revenue from alcohol, I think the important questions are "are there more smokers or non-smokers in the country?", "by how much?", and "if non-smokers are the majority (as I do so hope), how many will now start/resume going to the pub?".

So, hooray for the smoking ban.

July 2007

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